Like most topics pertaining to health & wellness, truck drivers are not in an environment that makes proper nutrition easy. The truck stops where many drivers eat make much of their income selling fatty and greasy foods, candy, soda, and coffee. Thus, it can be difficult to get a healthy and well-balanced meal when out on the road.
But with a little dedication and knowledge, it is possible to eat and live healthier out on the road.
A great way to start working towards better health is to pay close attention to how many calories you consume each day vs. how many you burn.
Our body burns a specific amount of calories each day depending upon a few factors:
- Metabolism rate
- Activity level
We also take in a certain amount of calories based upon what we consume each day.
If we consume more calories than we use up, then we gain weight. But the opposite is also true. If we burn more calories than we take in, then we lose weight. So it is important to be careful about how many calories you eat each day!
Get On Track
To get things started, you need to determine how many calories your body burns to get you through a normal day.
For example, the average 45-year-old male at 6 feet tall, 200 pounds, and getting little to no exercise will burn about 2,200 calories throughout the day.
A person could spend a lot of time trying to work this number out for themselves. Thankfully modern technology puts the information right at our fingertips. You can find calorie calculators online that will help you determine what your body burns.
If you use a smartphone, there are some great apps like MyFitnesPal, LoseIt, and Noom Coach that will help you determine this number, set goals, and track calories each day. These apps are also full of great tips on good foods to eat and how to balance your nutrition.
Once you know this number, you’ll have a good idea as to how much you can eat each day without putting on weight!
Build On It
A good diet does not stop at counting calories. It is also important to give your body the proper nutrients to gain energy and help you feel healthy.
Following the MyPlate building blocks pictured below will help you burn more calories than you intake and provide your body with the nutrients you need.
If you’re going to be out for a week or two, try taking healthy foods with you. While it is hard to pack a week’s worth of meals, any efforts to this end will certainly help your diet.
Limit the number of times you use truck stops as a meal stop. Instead of eating out 5 times a week, just do it once or twice. When you do use fast food restaurants or truck stops, search for the healthier options – fruits and salads are often available.
Take a look at the MyPlate building blocks and instead of just ordering up combo number 3, put together your own combination that fits those guidelines. And of course, stay away from the Big Gulp fountain drinks!!
You can learn more about balancing your plate at ChooseMyPLate.gov.